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General News Thu, 21 Nov 2002

Armed Robbers in shoot-out with police

It was like a scene out of a typical cops and robbers movie, when six armed men who stormed a home in a robbery attempt at Adorgonn, part of Nungua a suburb of Accra, engaged the police in a fierce gunfight. When the bullets stopped flying, three of the thieves lay dead whilst the other three managed to flee.

Chronicle investigations have gathered that luck ran out for the robbers when they were spotted jumping over a wall into the compound of a house by some pupils of a school adjoining the house. They informed their teacher who in turn called in the police. Within a short time, the police arrived on the scene trapping the unsuspecting robbers within the premises where the ensuing gun battle took place.

In order to determine the cause of the upsurge of violent crimes with weapons in recent years, this reporter had an exclusive interview with the head of the Police Striking Force Unit, Chief Superintendent K. Boakye.

According to him, apart from armed robbery being endemic in the sub-region, the recent trend is largely due to "importation." He explained that previously such activities were not common in Ghana, however, there is evidence to show that the modus operandi of these criminals are similar to what pertained in some other countries in the sub-region a few years back.

For example, in a recent highway robbery that was staged at Mankessim, a town on the Accra Cape Coast road, seven out of the eight robbers arrested were Nigerians.

Another reason he gave was is that, the high incidence of armed conflicts and civil wars in the sub-region have led to abundance of arms and forced migration of people across the region.

This, coupled with the porous nature of territorial borders, allow criminals to cross borders at unauthorised points with arms. This way, crimes are easily imported or exported. He added that easy access to locally manufactured weapons is also a contributory factor though the police administration is determined to weed out illegal manufacturers of such weapons.

Chief Supt. Boakye warned that with its recent acquisition of vehicles and other logistics, his unit will not relent in its efforts to clamp down on armed robbery, and therefore, appealed to the general public not to hesitate to call on inform the police of suspicious characters

Source: Chronicle